"PRETTY WRAPPING PAPER: A SHORT FILM"

Written by Mason McDonald

INT. LIVING ROOM - MORNING

The living room is every living room you've ever seen.
Photographs of family on the wall, foot-worn carpet,
fireplace with stockings. CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS cover
everything.

In the corner, a TREE. Its lights FLASH. Beneath is a
massive pile of PRESENTS. All of them are wrapped in
decorative, expensive-looking wrapping paper.

DOLLY, five, runs into the room, SQUEALING in delight.

MAMA, thirties, enters behind her. Mama is still in her
robe. She's holding a steaming coffee mug.

A NARRATOR, he sounds like every elderly voice from every
1960's cartoon, begins to speak.

NARRATOR(V.O.)

This Christmas, little Dolly is as
excited as every year. She woke
with those holiday jitterbugs
dancing in her belly, all of us
know about them, and she dashed out
of bed and ran to see what Ol'
Saint Nick left for her. I wonder
what she will find?

Dolly SLIDES on her knees under the tree and begins LAUGHING
and RIPPING at a present.

NARRATOR(V.O.)

(chuckling)
Well, we won't have to wait for
long!

MAMA

Take your time, sweetie. You've
been a good girl this year, there
is more than enough.

Mama sits down on the sofa and watches on as Dolly continues
opening her gift.

Dolly PAUSES suddenly and stares at Mama. Then at the empty
spot on the sofa beside her.

NARRATOR(V.O.)

Oh, little Dolly finally notices
her Papa isn't there. Now that is
just a shame as everybody knows
Papas LOVE Christmas!

Pause.

NARRATOR(V.O.)
(cont'd)

...even if they don't always know
what's in the boxes!

MAMA

Keep opening your presents, baby.

Dolly's confusion at the lack of her father gives way as her
excitement overpowers it. Soon she is ripping at the next
gift.

NARRATOR(V.O.)

Maybe this one will be a pretty
dress! Or maybe, a dolly for Dolly!
Everybody knows nobody gives a gift
like good ol' Santa Claus!

Dolly holds up a stuffed TEDDY BEAR and smiles a big,
missing-tooth grin, hugging the bear tight.

NARRATOR(V.O.)

Ah, a bear! Can't go wrong with a
classic, can we?

Dolly grabs another present.

NARRATOR(V.O.)

This past year has been a hard one
on Dolly's parents. Like many of
you young ones watching at home,
Dolly's Mama and Papa had to work
very hard, with some help from
Santa of course, to make this
Christmas magical! Christmas can be
hard for a lot of folk. Yes, it is
the most magical time of the year
and yes, we all look forward to it,
but for some of us it is a time of
stress and counting coins. That's
never fun!

Dolly opens another gift and looks back at the spot beside
Mama.

Mama WAVES her off.

MAMA

C'mon Dolly, open your gifts.

Mama's smile drops, just a fraction, and Dolly notices it.
She looks down at her bear and frowns.

MAMA

What's the matter?

NARRATOR(V.O.)

Little Dolly misses her Papa. What
a sad Christmas it will be if he
misses it. Where, oh where, can
Papa be?

Dolly points at the sofa.

Mama SIGHS.

MAMA

You're almost at the real good
stuff, sweetie. C'mon. Open your
presents.

Dolly gently puts her bear aside and grabs another present.

When she finishes, she grabs another.

Another.

Another.

NARRATOR(V.O.)

Where was I? Oh. Yes. Some Mama and
Papa's have lots of trouble at
Christmas. Take Dolly's mama for
instance. This Christmas she is
sad, oh is she ever, because maybe
the presents aren't as grand, or
maybe they aren't as good as they
used to be, and maybe there are
better presents from better mamas
out there. But Dolly doesn't want
those presents! Because Little
Dolly knows that the best presents
come from your mama, not somebody
else's!

CLOSE UP on Mama's face. Her SMILE is quivering. She looks
physically pained.

NARRATOR(V.O.)

Why would you go and get presents
from another mama when you have
your own? You should never take
another mama's gifts! Especially if
your mama worked really hard for
them and maybe the wrapping paper
isn't as pretty as it used to be,
but sometimes mama's don't have the
time to pick out the nicest paper
and make sure it is tied the best
way. And that's okay! Because your
mama's wrapping paper is your
wrapping paper and you should
appreciate that! Right, kids?

Dolly finishes all of her gifts and looks up at Mama,
smiling again.

NARRATOR(V.O.)

And do you want to know, kids, what
happens if you don't appreciate
your own mama, and you go get
prettier, newer presents from
somebody else's mama?

Something is wrong with Mama.

NARRATOR(V.O.)
(cont'd)

Well, you end up on the naughty
list, that's what happens!

Mama leans forward and reaches behind the tree.

MAMA

Here baby, one left!

Mama hands Dolly a BIG BOX. It is wrapped in sparkling GOLD
AND SILVER wrapping paper. The bottom is wet.

Dolly takes it. She almost DROPS it as it is heavier than
she expected.

Dolly looks at Mama. Then at the empty spot on the sofa.

MAMA

Open it, sweetie.

Dolly doesn't move.

Something is wrong with Mama.

MAMA

Dolly? Open your present.

Dolly doesn't move.

Something is wrong with Mama.

MAMA

Dolly. Open. Your present.

Dolly doesn't move.

Something is wrong with Mama.

NARRATOR(V.O.)

Seems like Dolly doesn't want to
open her last present. Hmm. Now I
wonder why?

Dolly doesn't move.

Something is wrong with Mama.

Where's PAPA?

Something is wrong with Mama.

NARRATOR(V.O.)
(cont'd)

Why wouldn't she want to open that
box? It's huge!

Something is wrong with Mama.

NARRATOR(V.O.)
(cont'd)

Why, you could fit your whole head
in there!

FADE TO BLACK

Mason McDonald is the author of A Time For Monsters. When not inventing yuletide boogeymen, he can be found drinking booze and fist fighting his own personal Ghost Of Christmas Yet To Come. He currently lives in Port Morien, NS with his wife Jenna and their collection of animals.

You can pick up his collection by clicking one of the links below!

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